Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5
Every now and again I run across something that just doesn’t seem to belong or have relevance anymore. I was cleaning closets recently and found an old rotary dial phone with a long spiral cord. I also have a potato slicer and French fry cutter that belonged to my Grandma Thelma. She used it in her kitchen when I was little girl. Both of those items have been replaced with more modern, convenient, efficient updated models so the old ones are cast aside as if they are no longer useful. There is a key word in this scripture passage from St. Matthew’s gospel that might seem as irrelevant as those old treasures hiding in my closet. That word is meek.
We strive to be strong and successful. We pray for the grace of patience, perseverance and wisdom. We admire people who are confident, powerful leaders with vision. To tell others our goal is to grow in meekness would be a little like seeing a rotary dial phone in a Verizon store! To be honest, when I came across the word meek the other day I decided to give it a look and some prayer. I think I need to change my opinion about that word. I think it’s a word we might all be able to relate to better than we thought and I’m certain it’s something we could use more of.
Long ago in biblical times the quality of meekness was highly respected and aspired to. We tend to view it as weak, timid or passive but that was not the message Jesus was teaching when he shared the Sermon on the Mount. Meekness in its true meaning is the opposite of those things. Being meek doesn’t mean you are weak and have to take everything like a door mat, it means an active and deliberate acceptance of undesirable circumstances that are part of a bigger picture we can’t see. Being meek doesn’t mean throwing in the towel, it means giving God authority to do what he wills with our life. True meekness can be measured by how closely related we are to the will of the Father. When we make that relationship first, we are content in his love and his control of our life. If we let him be in charge we realize everything happens for a purpose and we trust in his plan. If we are more centered on ourselves and our comforts and our pride we tend to fuss and complain and point out all the things that don’t go our way. If we are low on meekness we tend to see the world through the lens of poor me instead of God’s got it all figured out!
If someone rich in meekness is treated unfairly or wrongly it doesn’t mean that doesn’t sting, but vengeance or revenge isn’t part of their reaction. Their first reaction is to pray for the person who has wronged them and give the rest to God. A meek soul realizes that God is the source of justice and that all situations contain lessons. Sometimes the lesson is for us and sometimes the lesson is for somebody else and taught through us. In order to grow in meekness, we have to admit regularly that we are not equal with God. Through our great dependence on Him we grow and we trust and we think WAY more about him than about ourselves. I suppose meekness is a bit like realizing we truly need to settle into second place and stop trying so hard to be in charge, on top and number one. I don’t know about you but I have a lot of meekness building to do!
A Seed To Plant: What are some of the areas in your life that could use a little more meekness? Spend some prayer time this week with this old word with a great and misunderstood meaning.
Blessings on your day!
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased, listen to him.” Matthew 17:5
In the first half of chapter 17 in Matthew’s Gospel we read the magnificent story of the Transfiguration. You would think that after seeing something as indescribably amazing as the Transfiguration, Peter, James and John would never doubt or struggle with trusting the will of God again. I mean really, after seeing what they had just seen how could they ever doubt, question or stray from God again. But in his infinite wisdom I think God knew they would because they were human so as if the events of the day hadn’t been powerful enough, he included a simple and precise verbal statement, “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” The key phrase is at the end…listen to him. I don’t know about you but I sure could use that reminder every now and again.
I had a professor in college one time that handed out a test. It was the standard fill in the bubble test that we had seen dozens of times before. As the question and answer sheets circulated around the room he strongly advised waiting until he had finished making announcements and giving directions before beginning. I’m a people pleaser so I sat there listening to him ramble on as I watched everyone around me quickly reading and filling in bubbles. I was just about ready to tune him out and get started when I heard him quietly say, if you’re still listening to my voice, put down your pencil, don’t say a word and in five minutes bring your test forward, you will receive a perfect score on today’s exam. I thought a perfect exam score was awesome but as I read this passage from Matthew, I realized what I could gain from listening to HIM would most certainly blow that right out of the water!
God demonstrates his power and presence in our lives all the time but in our weakness; we often don’t listen to him. Sometimes it’s as if God’s grand workings in our lives make us feel entitled to float along with independent holiness instead of falling to our knees in thanksgiving and submission. I’m famous for taking the “holy glow feeling” that comes from identifying God’s handiwork and using it to plug along on my own instead of truly listening to him. I have to remember to listen and look for Jesus all the time; in times of blessing as well as times of struggle. He knows what’s best, he knows what’s right, and even when I’m in the middle of a hissy fit determined to do it my own way, he just patiently waits for me to listen and do it his way!
A Seed To Plant: When do I find it most difficult to “listen to him?” Father of wisdom, show me where I need to listen and guide me to live my life like I’ve heard your voice.
Blessings on your day!
And whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted. Matthew 23:12
There is nothing like a big ‘ole slice of humble pie every now and again to remind us who is really in charge! Tuesday was the start of a new year at St. Mary’s school and like always, the first grade rooms are full of life, energy, laughter and occasionally a big, fresh slice of humble pie for those who think they are the boss!
In our building, we have a great principal! He is a faith-filled, gentle leader who is a joy to be around. He’s a very tall man and his stature can sometimes cause the first graders to look up in awe! He is definitely a person you notice when he walks down the hall. But, even the principal is sometimes served some humble pie. That’s exactly what happened when one of our first grader was asked to take something to the office. He walked through the office door expecting to visit with Melanie or Sue the “Angels of the Office”. Unfortunately they were both on a mission so the principal asked if he could help him. The little guy looked up at the principal shaking his head and said, “No thanks, I need to talk to somebody who works here!” The event gave us all a great laugh but the simplicity of the story has a pretty steep meaning when you give it a bit of thought.
As I was thinking about the story, I began to wonder how many times during a struggle or challenge do we talk the issue over with friends, family or maybe even the poor lady stuck between us and the next cart in the check-out line at the grocery store. How often do we use human logic and reason instead of taking our concern straight to the boss? It’s usually just about the
time I start feeling wise that everything goes hay-wire! I recently offered what I thought was great and wise advice to a teenager. I usually ask a quick blessing on my words from the Holy Spirit before I have this kind of discussion but this particular day I thought, “naww…I got this one”. At the conclusion of my sage counsel, the young lady looked me right in the eyes and said, “Are you serious…there’s no way, that’s ever gonna work!” Ouch!
I then suggested maybe she should pray about it for a bit and see what
happened. A few days later she thanked me…for reminding her that God was the one she should have gone to first instead of me. Humble pie lovingly served! I’ve decided if I don’t “talk to the boss” every time life gets a
wrinkle in it, then I’d better start carrying a BIG fork to eat my humble pie with!
A seed to plant: In order to be sure we don’t exalt ourselves, do some acts of personal humbling. You might start by allowing someone to move ahead of you in line or leave the last cookie on the plate. It’s much easier on the soul to humble ourselves than to have someone else do it for us!
Blessings on your day!
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